Art Programs Engage Patients and Educate About Neurologic Disorders

December 11, 2021
During the pandemic, Arts & Minds moved its program online. Patients review art with caregivers and then create their own work. Courtesy Arts & Minds
During the pandemic, Arts & Minds moved its program online. Patients review art with caregivers and then create their own work. Courtesy Arts & Minds.

Various programs around the country connect neurologic patients and caregivers with the arts. One such example is Arts & Minds, an organization founded by James M. Noble, MD, FAAN, associate professor of neurology at Columbia University's Irving Medical Center and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain. The nonprofit entity works with New York City museums—including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the New-York Historical Society, the Jewish Museum, and El Museo del Barrio—on outreach to people with neurologic conditions. The museums provide participants with specially designed tours of their collections as well as studio space where they can make their own art.

Dr. Noble was inspired to create the nonprofit after attending a 2008 event presented by Met Escapes, a program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that introduced people with dementia to works of art and gave them the opportunity to create art. He witnessed patients becoming lively and talkative and interacting positively with their families and caregivers.

Soon thereafter, Dr. Noble began his first faculty position with Columbia University at Harlem Hospital. Just across the street, he could see the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where art by famed Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas hung on the walls. “Art and music are all around in Harlem,” says Dr. Noble. That made him wonder if something like Met Escapes could be replicated in the neighborhood he served. He enlisted Carolyn Halpin-Healy, who was involved with Met Escapes, to help launch Arts & Minds, which has initiated more than 1,000 programs in English and Spanish since it began in 2009. The organization also offers a training course for educators. [read more]

Source: Brain&Life